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Resilience and the Power of TOUCH

Skin is something of a miracle. It protects us from a range of diseases, while also allowing absorption of vitamins such as Vitamin D. It is also incredibly sensitive and responsive—we have around 10 million sensory neurons in our skin, firing and relaying constant streams of information to our brains. The touch sensations of a hand holding yours, arms around your shoulders in an embrace: these are some of the universal happy memories of being a kid. But they have unexpected benefits that long outlast childhood.

In fact, just making an effort to hug one person a day, whether it’s a friend or a family member, has been shown to have significant effects on your well-being.  It lowers blood pressure, increases nerve activity and improves overall mood. Beyond the physical, hugging also stimulates people to be more open about their emotions and develop a greater sense of closeness and compassion to those around them.

Who knew that simple skin-to-skin contact could be so important to personal resilience?

Instinct makes parents physically affectionate with their children, and science suggests this impulse is extremely beneficial to young brains. Physical love simply helps children grow and develop. Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist at Bath University, explains that, “Touch affects the cerebellar brain system, an area of the brain where basic positive emotions such as trust and affection come from.” Research consistently proves that your emotional resilience is deeply impacted by the simple act of touching another.

But this physical affection shouldn’t end with the onset of puberty. As a society, we have a tendency to dismiss nonsexual physical closeness, when in reality we thrive on the feelings of safety and acceptance that it brings.

Studies have shown that prolonged contact, such as a massage, has positive effects on people of all ages. It lessens depression and anxiety, and releases endorphins that work as the body’s natural painkillers. We know that stress causes upwards of ninety percent of all illnesses, and this being the case, promoting feelings of peace and well-being should be a priority.

This can be quite easily brought about through the simple act of touch. In a study performed by the University of Carolina, researchers found that couples’ cortisol levels (the stress hormone) were significantly lowered after having hugged their partners for at least twenty seconds.

Why do you think massages have such a reputation for bringing about relaxation? It’s the positive effect of touch. After receiving massage sessions, adolescents with ADHD expressed feelings of happiness, and their teachers noted a decrease in the adolescent’s fidgeting and off-task activities. Massage also helped smokers manage cravings, and arthritic sufferers felt less stiffness and pain in their whole bodies after a simple back massage.

Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—it can even help treat chronic diseases and neurological disorders. Doctors are being forced to recognize the unique role that touch has in the healing process:

“Touch [is] inherently humanizing, and for a doctor-patient relationship to have meaning

beyond that of a business interaction, there needs to be trust—on both ends. As has been

proven in newborn nurseries, and intuited by most doctors, nurses and patients, one of the

most basic ways to establish trust is to touch.”

— Danielle Ofri, New York Times

Touch is vital for human function and emotion—yet its importance is widely overlooked. Its ability to comfort a person in distress is recognized throughout all cultures the world over. In addition, treatments such as reflexology work with the vital energy of the body to encourage healing through touch. Patients are more likely to let go of the tension and anxiety that has made them ill, and sink into deep relaxation.

Touch can bond us together in ways that transcend words or in situations where we cannot express ourselves any other way.

This week, to strengthen resilience and benefit others:

GIVE A HUG to your friends and loved ones. Especially your partners—studies have shown that physical closeness is one of the most important factors in a healthy marriage.

GET A MASSAGE: while this may feel like an indulgence, the effect that this will have on your physical and emotional health will be extremely restorative. If you don’t have the time or inclination to book a professional massage, try taking turns with a family member!

REMEMBER to be physically affectionate — especially with older relatives and friends who live on their own or have lost husbands and wives.

Do this and you’ll be astonished at how much better you feel!

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Startling Results with World’s Easiest Detox Method

Just wanted to share with you an extraordinary experience I had yesterday…

I had the good fortune to stumble upon a local practitioner of Ionic Foot Bath Detoxification, easily one of the most extraordinary detoxification methods I’ve ever seen.  If you’ve been around this blog for any time at all, you know that detoxification is one of the strongest contributors to your personal resilience  and that without it you have little hope of reaching your health goals in the long term.  In fact, all of the longest lived and most vibrant natural health exponents of the 20th century that I can think of off hand were people who practiced regular detoxification.  As the saying goes, “success leaves clues”!  So do yourself a favor and get absolutely clear on one thing from the outset – you must make the decision right now that you will detoxify your body regularly.

As you know, I’ve used and passed on to you a number of extraordinarily effective detoxification solutions that are easily available to you commercially.  Most of these require an investment in the $100-$300 range and require a willingness on your part to change your diet for 1-4 weeks and possibly fast for periods of time.  Today I’d like to share with you an extraordinary detox method that cost me far less and took 30 minutes!  Let me say from the outset that I will continue doing colon cleanses in addition to the method I’ll describe below because they don’t do exactly the same thing – you will probably need more than one detox method.  That said, what I’m about to show you is a great place to start and I plan to start using it regularly.

My own detox treatment yesterday began with a full body Shiatsu massage.  In this kind of massage, the practitioner uses mainly their thumbs to get a read on how efficiently your blood and lymph circulation systems are working.  In addition to that, they learn all about where you’re holding tension, where too much typing (like writing this blog!) has built up scar tissue in your arms, and which major muscle groups are too tight.  And, of course, if you’ve had any major or even minor physical injuries in the past, believe me, they’ll find them!

So in part the massage is there to improve your blood and lymph circulation, but in fact it was also setting the stage for the main detox event itself – an Ion Cleanse Foot Bath.  Now I had ZERO familiarity with this modality going into the treatment, so when my practitioner placed two tubs of water in front of my chair, I did the natural thing – I put one foot in each.  Wrong move!  Turns out the second tub was for the post-treatment rinse.

After I immersed my feet in the right tub, the practitioner placed a small electrical device into the water.   This is the ion generator, which adds something like 14-16 volts of current and creates the dynamic that allows the water to pull massive amounts of toxins out of the soles of your feet.  Your feet, as you may know, have about four thousand pores and are one of the body’s most effective detoxing surfaces.  So, as I sat there, not knowing what to expect, I found the water after ten minutes had turned a distinctly tan color.  And no, it wasn’t from dirty feet 🙂  By the end of twenty minutes, the water was so dark brown (with traces of green, white and orange…) that I couldn’t even see my feet anymore!  All of that coloration was toxic material that Ionic Foot Bath had pulled from my body!   See for yourself:

Yes, that’s the water after I was done with it.  There is a whole color code that tells you where in your body the toxins came from or what they are, but there’s no room here to go into that.  I was astounded!  After all, I have a great diet with great supplements and I had done two large scale detox sessions in the last nine months or so.  And THIS was still in there???  Ouch.  But there was more…

The photo above is a bit of a mystery.  You’ll see in the center a small orange-brownish fragment of something inside a ziploc bag.  The photo was taken looking down through a glass table, so it’s a bit hard to see.  Apparently Ionic Foot Bath Detox often pulls some interesting stuff out of the body.  Sometimes that’s yeast or parasites, but not in this case.  It can also pull out the remnants of past surgeries, such as old stitches or other surgical materials left inside.  Could this be a remnant of the toe surgery I had at the age of five?  Maybe I’ll never know.  The one thing I do know is that, whatever it is, I won’t miss it!

Here’s a video that describes the foot bath detox process.  It’s a promotional video, but very well done and worth watching:

If you go on the internet, you’ll naturally find some controversy around this or any other detoxification method.  There are lots of people out there with a lot to lose if you start using a technology like this to eliminate your allergies, your fibromyalgia, your chronic fatigue, pain from old injuries, or even cancers.  And, of course, no one is allowed to claim this will “cure” anything.  However, there is an astounding body of evidence to suggest that this just might be one of the top health maintenance tools you would like to have in your back pocket.

Happy cleansing!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂

How to Take a Vacation Now, Even if You "Can’t Get Away"

I hope you enjoyed Tuesday’s blog post with the video of Tao Garden.  Now that you understand how vital a vacation is for maintaining and building your personal resilience, I can guess what you’re probably thinking…

“Yeah, that’s great… and I could probably take some time off work… but there’s no way we can afford the Caribbean, much less jetting off to Thailand!” 

And you may be right.  Whether it’s lack of time or lack of funds, maybe you can’t get away right now, or at least not for long.  If that’s the case, don’t feel badly.  I couldn’t manage a long vacation away right now either for various reasons, but that didn’t stop us from taking a “mini-vacation” last week, and it was super!  Here’s what we did…

First, I cleared most items off my calendar for two weeks – no speaking, no consulting, just some routine business tasks and time to think about the future.  Then I booked a day at a local spa called “Spa Nordik” (see the photo below), including massages for myself and my wife, as well as use of their amazing wet and dry saunas and hot and cold pools.  

Spa Nordik – two thumbs up!

Basically, this place is a paradise.  It’s literally minutes away from the city, yet remote enough that you’re not conscious of the city’s hustle and bustle.  

Phase two of our plan was to do an overnight getaway at a local hotel, as well as taking in a movie and having dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  So, although this has been mostly a stay-at-home vacation, it really has been a very relaxing holiday.  

Planning Your Own Stay-at-Home Vacation:

To do something similar for yourself, just review the vacation priorities I mentioned in the previous post.  If you look at them carefully, you’ll realize you can in fact accomplish most of this without ever leaving home!  In fact, let’s assume a “worst case” scenario where you can’t get much if any time off work…

Step One: Arrange your affairs so you won’t have to make any big decisions or worry about anything for a two-week period.  If there’s something really stressing you out that’s not going to go away, I would highly recommend using an energy-psychology method such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to manage your stress, and perhaps talking it through with a trusted friend or counselor in advance, so your vacation is as worry-free as possible.  

Step Two: Book a massage at a local spa.  You’ll probably want a “relaxation massage” or something similar.  Just make sure you don’t get some idiot who’s digging into your flesh as if you were at a sports medicine clinic.  That happened to me once – my wife, who was getting a massage in the same room at the time, said later, “I was sure you were going to flatten him!”  Well, I avoided bloodshed at the time, but the point is that you want your massage to relieve tension without causing you physical pain.  

Step 3: Plan a healthy menu for your vacation.  Many people think of vacation as a time to go binge drinking and discard all restraint.  Of course, what we have in mind is a vacation that builds your resilience instead of depleting it.

Step 4: This step is optional but very much worth considering – watch the video below, where Feng Shui expert Elizabeth Chamberlain shows you how to transform one room of your house into the perfect stay-at-home vacation spot:

Step 5: Plan your light exercise and fresh air for the week – perhaps long walks, walks to places you don’t get to very often or a hike in the nearest wilderness area.  Swimming comes highly recommended as a vacation exercise, especially in summer.  

There’s your blueprint.  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about “resilience vacations” this week, why your body-mind organism desperately needs one and that you can take one very soon no matter what your financial or work situation.  I look forward to your comments and to hearing about your vacation!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger